Kinder Than Christ


I came across an essay the other day that has some points well worth contemplating. It asserts that you will be able to tell the Anti-Christ because they will appear as more merciful--kinder--than Christ.

That idea really made so much sense to me. We live in an age where the human will seems the ultimate arbiter of all that is good and right. If you want a thing, if you feel a desire for something, then you were born that way. The desire can't be incorrect because you were created desiring that thing. And therefore the only possible god such an age can have is a god that supports and facilitates your desires--no matter what they may be.

Of course, Christ is not that type of pagan god. Christ says your desires may be wrong, that you may have to stifle your desires and repent, that the purpose of repentance is to be able to change what you desire. Christ tells us that crossing ourselves and picking up our crosses--nixing our desires--may represent profound moral courage. Conversely, giving in to one's desires may represent profound moral cowardice--even frank evil-doing.

So, yes, the Anti-Christ would indeed tell you that your desires are sacred and must be honored. That is completely inimical to what Christ stands for. While Christ may indeed invite us to "come as we are," He insists that we "cannot stay as we are" and continue with Him. Even worse, he promises a spectrum of bad things if we persist in acting out desires that are wrong--everything from a lesser kingdom to outer darkness.

I know some, even within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who do not really believe Christ would ever follow through on such negative consequences. They think of Christ as only ever kind. But Christ destroys peoples--in the Book of Mormon, He says that He sunk the cities and caused the earthquakes and the fires (3 Ne 9). We are not playing some type of game with a man who is a marshmallow, who puts kindness above all other virtues. Yes, Christ loves us all, but some are going to outer darkness by His judgment.

As I have pondered the fact that this trend exists within His own church, I read this part of the essay with special interest:

“'The appearance of the Church of modern times is essentially determined by the fact that in a completely new way she has become and is still becoming more and more the Church of pagans …, of pagans who still call themselves Christians, but who in truth have become pagans.'

"The task was not to connect with the world, but to revitalize the Faith from within.

"When he was still a young theologian, Joseph Ratzinger studied the thinking of Tyconius, a theologian of the fourth century, who said that the body of the Church is divided into a dark and evil church and a righteous one. In the present state, the two bodies of the Church are inseparably commingled, but they will divide at the end of time.

"The Church, the future pope wrote in 1956, is until the Last Judgment both the Church of Christ and the Church of the Antichrist: 'The Antichrist belongs to the Church, grows in it and with it up to the great separation, which will be introduced by the ultimate revelation.'

"The Anglican bishop N.T. Wright wrote in his simple book about Revelation that this is the apocalyptic scenario that the final book of the Bible puts forth: that only after evil has done its very worst, and the demon has exposed itself fully, can it be destroyed once and for all."

Reading the Book of Mormon, this is not the first time that the church includes both believers and pagans. Eventually, it is the pagans of the Nephite church that destroy it. We are promised that will not happen in the Last Days, but rather that the preparatory cleansing will start with His church.

It's important to remember that the Anti-Christ comes arrayed in glittering robes, promising a wondrous world of fulfilled desire. More from the essay:

"What Moloch wants — Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks — is sacrifice. We must sacrifice ourselves and our children to the robot apartments and stunned governments. What Anti-Christ wants is the opposite of transcendence. If the coming of Christ represents the transcendent breaking into the temporal in order to change it, then His opponent will herald a world of pure matter, uninterrupted by anything beyond human reach. Everything in that world is up for grabs. Anything, from rainforests to the human body, can be claimed and reshaped in the interests of advancing the realm of the human will. It is the oldest story.

"The rushing power that runs beneath the age of Progress, the energy of the modern world, the river that carries us onwards — where is it taking us? We know the answer. Humans cannot live for very long without a glimpse of the transcendent, or an aspiration, dimly understood, to become one with it. Denied this path, we will make our own. Denied a glimpse of heaven, we will try to build it here. This imperfect world, these imperfect people — they must be superseded, improved, remade. Flawed matter is in our hands now. We know what to do.

"What Progress wants is to replace us.

"Perhaps the last remaining question is whether we will let it . . .

"'Organisms are algorithms' was a slogan Yuval Noah Harari bruited in his bestseller Homo Deus, in which he wrote: 'Having raised humanity above the beastly level of survival struggles, we will now aim to upgrade humans into gods, and turn Homo sapiens into Homo deus.' He's saying technology will make us gods. This is purely satanic."

We have already seen new industries arise to sell us more perfect versions of ourselves, more transformational versions. You can have orc horns implanted in your skull, or have nullo surgery, or silicone bags implanted in your butt. And there are other industries designed to provide us with more extreme desires--what else can we call the porn industry? And yes, some of our richest men are trying to find a way to "transcend" their bodies and live forever in designer simulations of embodiment.

The human will has been unleashed by our technology, and it is not a pretty sight at all, is it?

What is there to do about this terrible situation?

The essay's author has this to say: "Simple “reaction”, [Augusto Del Noce] said, was no solution to what was unfolding. Both nostalgia and utopia were ultimately fruitless as tools of resistance. If permanent revolution, and the consequent disintegration, is the baseline state of a world that denies transcendence, then the alternative is clear: a return to the spiritual centre. A rediscovery, or a reclamation, of the transcendent realm and its place in our lives. This, and only this, is the alternative to the reign of quantity and its attendant cast of gods, demons and machines."

That is true, of course. The only way to fight back is soul-by-soul conversion, and a dedication by parents to raise their children in living faith. And those who are converted must keep alive the old ways of thinking, of speaking, of judging. They must keep alive the old knowledge, the old books, the old teachings. We need the equivalent of monasteries, abbeys, and sanctuaries in our midst to serve the families that the faithful create. The Church will be that great ship Zion, but we must be dedicated to keeping it possible for the next generation to find the Path.

And yes, I'm thinking about what I can do, and I hope you are, too . . .